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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Home Sweet Home...

Laurel, MD 20707
Originally uploaded by rwilso_laurel
I bought my home in November 2003, at the very beginning of the housing bubble. I consider myself lucky. I had considered moving out and renting for a little while when I got out of the Army in 2005, and I wish I had. My house today is worth less than half what it was worth in when I got out of the Army. Thankfully, still slightly more than I paid for it.

I count my blessings that I wasn't one of the poor souls who got wrangled into a sub-prime mortgage. Considering that I was a naive 23 year old Army specialist when I purchased my house, I very well could have fallen for that. So I'm not on the streets, and I am not totally broke. I count my lucky stars for that.

But now I find myself in a different type of bad situation: one where I want to relocate, but I can't. Sure, it's an excellent time to buy. But even the most motivated seller would have a difficult time selling an old starter home behind the strip malls of Route 1. Tonight I realized just how stuck I really am, and I've all but abandoned my goal of moving by next summer, unless I hit the Powerball or find a much, much more lucrative career field.

I bought this house because of my job on Fort Meade (I'm a civilian now, I was in the Army then). I wasn't thinking that I would be here for a particularly long time, and I was hoping to relocate somewhere more convenient to Metro once I got established in my civilian position. Of course, with the minimal transit capacity on Fort Meade, living near Metro would do me little good, though I might be able to take MARC to work once in a while if I'm in a pinch. The 3 mile shuttle ride from the MARC station to my building is long, infrequent, and inconvenient, and doesn't mesh with my later work schedule, but there are days where anything is better than spending half an hour looking for parking in a lot comparable in size to the lot at FedEx Field for a space that is likely to be virtually inaccessible when I get out of work at 9pm and several of the access gates are long closed.

The parking situation alone leaves me bewildered at people who oppose having Metro come out to Fort Meade, where there are 50,000 jobs plus several thousand more across the B-W Parkway (mostly government contractors, not unlike parts of Tyson's Corner). This massive job center has virtually zero direct transit access (very few shuttles from Savage and Odenton MARC stations), and literally thousands of acres of Fort Meade have been converted to parking lots in order to maintain growth.

Alas, I'm a slave to my car, which soaks up so much of my income that I can't afford to invest the money into the house that I would like in order to sell. Not the worst problem in the world, but just another way the bad economy is hurting an average joe.

1 comment:

Cavan said...

That's frustrating. I really wish you had the opportunity to move in walking distance of the Metro and go transit oriented. I got to (I'm a renter and my last rental situation broke down in January '07.) I moved out of Laurel and over to Wheaton near the Metro and it completely changed my perspective.

It's nice to hear that at least you're not getting clobbered and are still largely ok. Just a little more time in sprawl...